Few people could have predicted the worldwide disruption the COVID-19 pandemic would cause.
With its influence continuing, the work environment is undergoing a dramatic transformation. Business leaders are rethinking their approach to workforce management and new trends are emerging that will drive how companies approach the employee life cycle.
To help your organization successfully navigate this uncharted terrain while maintaining employee engagement and your profitability, here are some important HR trends to keep in mind for the year ahead.
Trend #1: Refining the work-from-home scenario
In some capacity, remote work is here to stay. That means striking the right balance between working from home and returning to the office on a modified schedule will demand ongoing attention. The year ahead will largely focus on finding the sweet spot that works for everyone. With remote work now commonplace, the next phase is likely to involve giving employees more flexibility over when they work. To help people perform at their best, the options regarding how the work gets accomplished should be plentiful. Expect many companies to de-emphasize set working hours and place greater importance on outcomes and results.
Trend #2: A greater emphasis on diversity
Recent events in America have pushed equity issues to the forefront. To address them, many organizations are attempting to create stronger diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) change agendas. Companies are realizing they can’t just talk about change—they must ‘walk the walk’ to retain their employees, customers, and investors. Expect business leaders to become more earnest about their learning and sharing of diversity best practices. Companies in every industry will be examining their workforces and striving to build more diverse teams within their organizations, particularly in remote work settings.
Trend #3: A more fluid workforce—with some caveats
Amid the economic uncertainty created by the pandemic, many workers lost their jobs and companies have been forced to reconsider their hiring and workforce management models. Contractual and freelance workers give employers more flexibility in this regard. With an increasing reliance on independent contractors, HR departments will need to work with managers to ensure that they are legally considered contractual workers and not de facto employees. As in past recessions, many states, facing shortages in their unemployment insurance funds, will likely be eager to audit and reclassify these workers as employees as a source of replenishment.
Trend #4: Expanded investments in mental health support and wellbeing initiatives
A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than 40% of American adults experienced mental health or substance abuse struggles as a result of the pandemic. This prevalence has forced many employers to re-examine the scope and effectiveness of their mental health and wellness initiatives. In 2021, businesses will focus on de-stigmatizing mental health by expanding benefits and resources, creating collective mental health days, and supporting other initiatives to improve the overall wellness of their employees. These strategies will likely become a key selling point for attracting new hires and retaining existing staff members.
The year 2020 upended the priorities of most organizations. Experts anticipate the challenges arising from the pandemic to transform the work environment for the foreseeable future. Throughout this evolution, maintaining workers’ ability to feel connected, fulfilled, and engaged will remain an ongoing priority for businesses in every industry.
Is your organization ready to make 2021 a landmark year? The HR Team is here with valuable tools, resources, and insights to facilitate your efforts. Please contact our knowledgeable professionals to learn more.
About The HR Team: Founded in 1996, The HR Team is a Maryland-based human resources outsourcing firm committed to developing strategic, customized solutions that respond to the unique needs and cultures of organizations of all types and sizes. Available as a one-source alternative to an in-house HR department or on an à la carte project basis, the company’s flexible service models address the full spectrum of HR needs that many organizations struggle to address. The HR Team helps clients achieve their highest level of success by providing value-driven human resources services that leave them time to focus on what they do best: directing business growth and profitability. Headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, the firm serves all of Maryland, Washington, DC, and Virginia. To learn more about The HR Team, call 410.381.9700 or visit https://www.thehrteam.com/.